Ninja in popular culture

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People dressed as ninja during the Himeji Castle Festival in Himeji, Hyōgo, Japan in 2009
One of the Iga Railway Iga Line ninja-themed trains in the Mie Prefecture, Japan in 2010
Kyushu Ninja Preservation Society, 2012

A ninja is a commonly used stock character in both Japanese and international popular culture. The cultural references listed below are separated into categories, such as novels, comics, anime and manga, often in games, television, music and others. Live-action films and video games are discussed in detail in separate articles.


Jiraiya battles a giant snake with the help of his summoned toad. Woodblock print on paper. Utagawa Kuniyoshi, circa 1843

Depictions of ninjas range anywhere between realistic to fantastically exaggerated, both fundamentally and aesthetically. In stylized form, a ninja wears a dark hood, or mask, and can move in a stealthy or secretive manner. Ninjas are also often a subject of parody. As far back as the late 19th century, erotic art was made using the ninja theme. Japanese ninja literature and cinema still contain an element of eroticism, including some pornography, often focusing on kunoichi (ninja women). According to Glenn Morris, ninjutsu in Western popular media has been incorrectly associated with the image of an "unemotional, heartless assassin" due to the influence of Ashida Kim, Frank Dux and Eric van Lustbader.[1] According to a 2011 article in The Guardian, "in Japan, ninja are now something of a national myth, a slightly cartoonish composite of old folk tales and modern pop culture."[2]

Ninjas are a long-popular theme in Japanese folklore, jidaigeki literature and performing arts. For example, Ishikawa Goemon was the subject of many kabuki plays and Sarutobi Sasuke has been featured in many Japanese children's stories since 1911. Koga Unôn Ninjutsu Kogaryû, a silent film from 1916[3] was possibly the first ninja movie. Ninja-based films and books became a major Japanese pop-culture craze during the 1950s and early 1960s, since then expanding into numerous comic books and video games. In Japan, the word shinobi and its variants are often used instead of "ninja".

A Naruto character cosplayer

The first major appearance of ninjas in Western pop-culture was in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), as a secret commando force used by the Japanese intelligence service. The 1960s TV series The Samurai caused a significant wave of interest in ninjas among younger viewers in Australia, but the impact of the ninja phenomenon was not felt in other western countries until considerably later. Western fascination with the ninja bloomed in the 1980s, especially in the United States. Several American ninja movies starring Sho Kosugi were released in the early 1980s, largely responsible for introducing ninjas to American pop culture and contributing to worldwide ninja-mania on grand scale. These included megahit media franchises such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the late 1980s to early 1990s and Naruto in the 2000s.[4][5]

Ninja characters are often identified by their use of traditional blade and ranged weapons in modern and even science fiction settings, as well as numerous superhuman abilities (such as running on water and up walls). Though depicted as nearly-invincible warriors (especially when they are the heroes of the story), they are often conversely depicted as disposable "cannon fodder", to be dispatched by the hero character, especially one who's a ninja himself. Thus, modern entertainment has shown the ninja as either expendable "redshirts" attacking in large numbers, or as nearly invulnerable solitary warriors (who are often unmasked in contrast). In effect of this common approach, a single/small group of protagonist ninja may often easily defeat waves of incompetent enemy ninja on multiple occasions, only to have far more trouble when facing a more competent lone ninja – this seemingly inconsistent portrayal is jokingly referred to by the ironic "Inverse Ninja Law" (also called "conservation of ninjutsu"[6]), according to which ninja are weaker when they are in larger groups.

In film[edit]

Main article: List of ninja films

In manga and anime[edit]

Ninja themed manga and anime series[edit]

For ninja anime theatrical films and OAVs, see the list of ninja films, anime section.
Cosplayers of the Ninja Hattori-kun franchise characters at Comiket 76

The following manga and anime series feature ninja as one of their main themes.

Sanpei Shirato also authors many ninja-themed manga, including Akame – The Red Eyes,[11] Band of Ninja (Ninja Bugeicho) (later adapted into an anime film[12]), Kaze no Ishimaru,[13] Ninpou Hiwa, Ookami Kozou, Ninja Senpuu, The Legend of Kamui and Watari (later adapted into a live-action film Watari, the Ninja Boy[14]).

Other appearances[edit]

The following stories feature a major ninja character, but is not primarily ninja-themed:

Supporting appearances include: Ah! Itoshi no Banchousama (Hirayama Hayaka's ninja bodyguard), Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (OVER's Ninja Assassin Corp and The Ultimate Five Assassins), Code Geass (Sayoko Shinozaki), Cutey Honey, Dinosaur King (episode "Ninja Nightmare"),[17] F-Zero: GP Legend (Dream), Hero Tales, Hunter x Hunter (Hanzo and Machi), Hyper Police (Kasumi), Is This a Zombie? (Seraphim), Kamen no Maid Guy (ninja maids Shizuku and Tsurara), King Arthur, Kinnikuman (The Ninja), Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (Kirby becomes a ninja and works with Benikage and Yamikage in the episode "Visiting Ninja, Benikage!" ("Ninja Binge"), Kotetsu no Daibouken (Kagari), Lone Wolf and Cub (various characters), Machine Robo: Battle Hackers, Magical Nyan Nyan Taruto (Rakugan), Magical Princess Minky Momo (episode "Ninja Arrived! Momo is Ninja"), Mega Man Star Force (the Tribe-On transformation Green Ninja), Metal Fighter Miku (episode "Pretty Four vs The Lady Ninjas"), Miami Guns, My-HiME/My-Otome (Akira Okuzaki), Oh My Goddess! (Marller's ninja trio), Planetes (Tanabe's neighbors in "The Lunar Flying Squirrels"),[18] Pokémon series and Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu (Aya, Koga / Kyō and Janine / Anzu), PQ Angels, Ranma 1/2 (Konatsu, Sasuke Sarugakure, and Shirokuro), Saber Marionette, Sailor Moon (the villain of the week Ninjana / Oniwabandana), Sakura Wars (ninja stagehands), Samurai Champloo (episodes "Bogus Booty" and "Baseball Blues" deal with characters who are ninja or former ninja), Samurai Girl: Real Bout High School, Sengoku Collection (Kotaro Fuuma), Sonic X (the E-91 Lady Ninja and Espio the Chameleon), Sorcerer Hunters, The King of Braves GaoGaiGar (Yūsha Ō GaoGaiGā) (Volfogg), Those Who Hunt Elves, Tower of Etruria (Palmyra),[19] Ultraman (Alien Baltan), Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito, Yakitate! Japan (episode "Nin Nin Nin!! My Way of Ninja!"), Yoshimune (Kunoichi), YuYu Hakusho (Team Shadow Channelers).

In literature[edit]

In novels[edit]

Ninja-themed novels include:

  • Brett Wallace: Ninja Master: An eight-book series by ‘Wade Barker’ (Richard Meyers).[20]
  • Demon King Daimao: The light novels by Shotaro Mizuki features girls who represent the rival Koga and Iga ninja clans. It was adapted into an anime and manga series.
  • Fukurō no Shiro: Ryotaro Shiba wrote this novel as well as a collection of short stories called Saigo no Igamono. Both were made into hit movies.
  • Kage Kara Mamoru!: The series of light novels later adapted into a manga and anime series.
  • Kamui: A series of five novels by Tetsu Yano that were later adapted in manga, anime and eventually live-action format.
  • Ninja's Revenge and The Bamboo Bloodbath: The novels by Piers Anthony.[20]
  • Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe: A novel by Robert Asprin and George Takei featuring a member of a ninja clan in the future.
  • Ninja Slayer: A series of Japanese cyberpunk novels written by "Bradley Bond".[21]
  • Not for Glory: A space opera novel Not for Glory by Joel Rosenberg about a mercenary tribe of descendants of Jews and Japanese who practice ninjutsu.
  • Sanada Ten Braves (Sanada Jūyūshi): An old legend that originated in the Meiji period, first published in the novel form during the Taishō period in 1912; since then in several books, movies, audio shows and the other media.
  • Shinobi no Mono: A series of novels by Tomoyoshi Murayama about the life of Ishikawa Goemon. In the 1960s they were turned into a series of hit films about the lives of Goemon and the other historical ninja.[22]
  • Tales of the Otori: The Tribe is an entity of five families of ninja with powers (such as invisibility, splitting themselves temporarily, a stare that induces sleep, sharper hearing and eyesight, faster reflexes, etc.).
  • The Diamond Chariot: Erast Fandorin learns ninjutsu while in Japan.
  • The Kouga Ninja Scrolls (Kōga Ninpōchō): A novel by Futaro Yamada about two rival ninja clans, the Iga and Kouga. Later turned into a manga and anime series and a live-action film.
  • The Ninja: A thriller by Eric Van Lustbader featuring a half-Japanese, half-white character who received ninjutsu training in his youth. The original book was followed by The Miko, White Ninja, The Kaisho, Floating City, and Second Skin.
  • The Ninja Murders, a historical fiction novel by Andrew B. Suhrer.
  • Tulku, a Tale of Modern Ninja: A novel by Stephen K. Hayes, famous American ninjutsu practitioner.[23]
  • You Only Live Twice: The 1964 James Bond novel written by Ian Fleming, in which the Japanese secret service employs a top secret ninja force to play a critical role in helping the British spy stop SPECTRE's grandest scheme.
  • The series of children books American Chillers and Magic Tree House: Volumes New York Ninjas and Night of the Ninjas, respectively.

Ninja characters also have minor roles in Shōgun, Thief of Time, Vineland,[24] and the Young Samurai series, among others.

In non-Japanese comics[edit]


A 2014 cosplay of Psylocke

In the Marvel Universe, ninja have been often featured as exotic antagonists and allies, such as Spider-Man's foe White Ninja,[25] X-Men supporting character Yukio, Ghost Rider's foes Deathwatch and Death Ninja,[26] Wolverine's mentor Ogun, Hawkeye (currently operating as Ninja Ronin), the Punisher's friend Katherine Yakamoto (from Shadowmasters),[27] the Pacific Overlords operative Kuroko (Aya Komatsu), Blackhawks member Kunoichi, and the original owner of Psylocke's Asian body, Revanche (Kwannon). In the Marvel Mangaverse, Spider-Man is the last member of a clan of ninja. A sinister ninja cult called The Hand, is prominently featured in several comic series, particularly X-Men and Daredevil. The Hand and their associates were responsible for the martial training of Psylocke, Elektra, Daredevil, Black Tarantula, Kitty Pryde, Lady Bullseye and Wolverine, among others. The Hand's good rival group are The Chaste; they are also at odds with their Korean offshoot True Believers[28] that include Dragonfly (Meiko Yin).[29]

Characters with the sort of mystical and superhuman martial arts abilities attributed to the ninja occur in the DC Universe. One character who is portrayed in a fashion similar to a ninja is master martial artist and assassin Lady Shiva; Shiva also killed Armless Master, who had trained both Catwoman and Hellhound. The fourth recent Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, also has the qualities of the Western perception of a ninja (there is also a book titled Batman and the Ninja). The retconned stealth and martial arts training of the recent Batman incarnations has led many latter day Batman fans to assume that Batman is a ninja; Ra's Al Ghul specifically mentions ninja during his training of Bruce Wayne. One alternative-universe comic even substitutes Batman with a Japanese female ninja named Komori (Bat).[30] One alternative version of Robin has him named Tengu and raised by Cat-Ninja (Catwoman) in the feudal Japan.

In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) series, all four main characters and many of their friends and foes are ninja, mostly from the Foot Clan (a pastiche of Marvel's group The Hand), including Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, Shredder and Karai. The franchise achieved a massive popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s, resulting in a franchise of five films, four animated series, a live action series, more than 40 video games, and a wide range of toys and other merchandise.

The G.I. Joe of comic books has featured ninja far more than the cartoon series, and many story arcs revolved around Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Jinx, Kamakura, Firefly and the Arashikage ninja clan, which consisted of an extended family of ninja characters (never featured in the toyline or cartoon). Other characters in the comic who received ninja training from the Arashikage clan and their associates were Cobra Commander's son Billy Kessler and the shapeshifter Zartan.

Other comics[edit]

Other ninja-themed comics include:

Less notable and/or short-lived titles include Codename: Ninja,[36] Corporate Ninja,[37] Savage Ninja,[38] Surban Jersey Ninja She-Devils[39] and Zombee;[40] Amelia Rules! included the book A Very Ninja Christmas.

Supporting appearances include Chastity, G.I. Combat (Kana[41]), Karate Kommandos,[42] Lucha Libre (the Pom Pom Ninjas),[43] Les Naufragés d'Ythaq, Masters of the Universe (Ninjor),[44] Rebirth (the hero's ally Eiji Inaba),[45] Sam Noir (villains of the series),[46] Scott Pilgrim (Roxanne "Roxie" Richter), Spike: Shadow Puppets, Sonic the Hedgehog (Uma Arachnis and the Arachne), The Order of the Stick (Therkla and others), The Tick (Oedipus),[47] Usagi Yojimbo (features various ninja of the Neko,[48] Mogura and Komori clans, notably Kashira Chizu[49]), Y: The Last Man (Toyota).

In television[edit]

Non-anime TV series centered around ninja themes include:

There are several ninja-themed Super Sentai and Power Rangers shows, including Hikari Sentai Maskman (in which Haruka, a.k.a. Yellow Mask, was a ninjutsu practitioner) and Ninpū Sentai Hurricaneger (footage of which was used in Power Rangers: Ninja Storm). Footage of Ninja Sentai Kakuranger was used in season three of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, in which Ninjor (Ninjaman in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger) gave the Power Rangers their new Ninja Powers and Ninjazords, while the Kakurangers themselves served as base for the Aquitian Rangers (informally known as Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers).

Ninja Warrior (Sasuke) and Women of Ninja Warrior (Kunoichi) are two Japanese sports entertainment shows that are featuring (respectively) male and female competitors on an obstacle course. In the Prank Patrol shows, "ninja" are the show helpers setting up the pranks.

Other roles[edit]

Cartoon series[edit]

In animated series, ninja were featured in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (episode "Robo-Ninja"), American Dragon: Jake Long (Huntsman and Rose), Batman Beyond (Curaré of the League of Assassins[55]), Batman: The Animated Series (Kyodai Ken in the episodes "Night of the Ninja" and "Day of the Samurai"[56]), Chop Socky Chooks (Ninja Chimps),[57] Karate Kommandos (a Chuck Norris series with the villain Super Ninja and his ninja henchmen), Code Monkeys (episode "Revenge of Matsui"), Codename: Kids Next Door (Teen Ninjas), Conan the Adventurer (episodes "Shadow Walkers",[58] "Dragon's Breath" and "Sword, Sai and Shuriken"), Danny Phantom (Bertrand), Digimon Data Squad (Falcomon), 'Eon Kid (Black Beauty and her ninja robot army), Family Guy (in "Wasted Talent" and "I Take Thee Quagmire"), Happy Tree Friends (Generic Tee Ninjas), Jackie Chan Adventures (the Shadowkhan) Johnny Test (one of Johnny's transformation is Ninja Johnny), Kim Possible (the Yamanouchi ninja school), Planet Sketch (Ninja Handyman),[59] Robot Chicken (various parodies, as well as some original ninja skits such as "Brandon the Ninja" and Ninja Stars), Road Rovers (episode "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie"), Samurai Jack (episode "Samurai versus Ninja"),[60] Skunk Fu (Ninja Monkeys), South Park (in the episode "Good Times with Weapons" the kids pretended to be ninja warriors; another episode, "Fantastic Easter Special", has ninja mercenaries working for the Roman Curia), Stroker and Hoop (episode "Ninja Worrier" / "Chopping Spree"),[61] Superman: The Animated Series (Death Fist Ninja), Teen Titans (in "Masks", Beast Boy has a video game "Super Ninja Showdown 8"), The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (episode "Crouching Jimmy, Hidden Sheen"), The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (episode "Sneaky Lying Cheating Giant Ninja Koopas"), The Legend of Prince Valiant (episode "The Ghost"),[62] The Legend of Zelda (Sing), The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (episode "Night of the Zinja"),[63] The Simpsons (in "The Telltale Head" Bart Simpson disguises as a ninja; in "Treehouse of Horror XVIII" one of the aliens is dressed as a ninja, in "Husbands and Knives" the Comic Book Guy has ninja weapons, in "Yokel Chords" Bart plays a spoof video game featuring a female ninja, among many other references), The Transformers (Greatshot, Nightbird and Prowl), The Venture Bros. (Otaku Senzuri), Wolverine and the X-Men, Xiaolin Showdown (Tubbimura) and more recently Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja

Live-action series[edit]

In live-action series, the ninja were featured in Baretta (episode "The Ninja"), Big Wolf on Campus (episode "Play It Again, Samurai"), Charmed (episode "Awakened"), Criminal Minds (episode "True Night"), Danger Theatre (episode "Tropical Punch: Lethal Luau"), Dude, What Would Happen (episode "Ninja Slicing"), Knight Rider (1982) (episode "Knight of the Rising Sun"), Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion (The 5 Space Ninjas), Kung Fu (episode "The Assassin"), Magnum P.I. (episode "The Arrow That is Not Aimed"), Mito Kōmon (Tsuge no Tobizaru and Kagerō Ogin), Mortal Kombat: Konquest (alternative versions of Kitana, Mileena, Reptile, Scorpion and Sub-Zero), Quincy, M.E. (episode "Touch of Death"), She Spies (episode "Fondles"), Shōgun (features a realistic ninja castle raid in feudal Japan), Simon & Simon (episode "Opposites Attack"), Space Sheriff Shaider (Girls' Army), That '70s Show (episode "Jackie Moves On"), The Greatest American Hero (episode "Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo"), Verbotene Liebe.

There are also many ninja villains in the various Super Sentai series, such as Negative Syndicate's Dark Shadow clan in GoGo Sentai Boukenger (Gekkou, Yaiba and Shizuka), Miratrix and some other of Kamdor's henchmen in Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive, Ninja Org Duke Dorodoro in Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger (Onikage in Power Rangers: Wild Force), Dora Ninja in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger (Dark Warrior in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season one), Shinobilar in Denkou Choujin Gridman, and Kirikage in Mahou Sentai Magiranger.


Shows that featured ninja characters of motifs include American Idol (a contestant Danny Noriega is a self-proclaimed "sexy intense ninja pickle"), Big Brother Australia (the people who have to enter the house to do things such as maintenance are referred to, even by Big Brother himself, as "ninja"; on the Friday Night Live show, the "ninja" are much more prominent, are given personalities and have segments dedicated to them), Cheat! (episode "Cheat-jitsu"), Deadliest Warrior (in one episode a ninja fought with a Spartan, but lost), In Living Color (an episode featured a skit about a ninja home security system in which a ninja was used to kill intruders), Gamers, Late Night with Conan O'Brien (Conan and Jim Carrey fought ninja), MadTV (in some of their Steven Seagal parodies), Mystery Science Theater 3000 (an episode featured Joel and the 'bots singing a song called "Master Ninja Theme Song", which became a popular song from the show), Mythbusters (a ninja special of the show tested classic ninja myths such as walking on water, catching a sword and catching an arrow), Screen Test, Splatalot! (Shaiden), The Lance Krall Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Craig Ferguson fought ninja), You Don't Know Jack (in one episode the host was attacked by ninja).

There are a number of television series which feature characters that are mistaken for ninja, or are merely characters dressed in ninja-like costumes (usually done as a spoof). In Chuck (the pilot episode "Chuck vs the Intersect", 2007) Sarah is dressed in a ninja-like costume for one scene; in Hill Street Blues (episode "Look Homeward, Ninja", 1986) a mentally unstable character believes himself to be a ninja and dresses as a ninja in one scene; in Knight Rider (2008 TV series) (episode "Knight Fever", 2008) so-called "motorcycle ninja" are merely wearing ninja-like black hoods under their helmets; Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (episode "Chi of Steel") (1995) features a Chinese Yi Chi Master who wears mystical bracelets and is dressed in a ninja-like costume; in MacGyver (episode "Murderers' Sky", 1988) opening scene features a character dressed in a ninja-like costume; in Perfect Strangers (episode "Karate Kids", 1987) Balki dresses as a ninja in a spoof of the Cato surprise attack scenes in the Pink Panther movies.

Ninja apparead in a number of television advertisements, including for the Alior Sync bank,[64] Anime Network,[65] Bombay Sapphire,[66] Clamato,[67] FedEx,[68] Free Realms,[69] Honda Civic Si,[70] Mitsubishi UFJ Securities,[71],[72] Nicorette,[73] Nike,[74] Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection,[75] Oregon Lottery,[76] Pepsi,[77] Pop-Tarts,[78] and Sure.[79][80]

In games[edit]

In video games[edit]

A FanimeCon 2012 cosplay of Scorpion, a popular and iconic Mortal Kombat ninja character

Besides a large number of video games, there are also several game developing units that used the word "ninja" in their name (such as Ninja Studio, Ninja Theory, Ninjaforce, NinjaKiwi[81] and Team Ninja), a group of gamers called Ninjas in Pyjamas and a video gaming magazine character Sushi-X.

In massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), the term "ninja" (also "loot ninja" or "ninja looter") may be used as an adjective to describe a player who has stolen another players item (this is perceived negatively by the other players – if a player is labelled a "ninja" in the game they are often rejected by the community and find it difficult to join guilds or raid parties).[82][83] In the first-person shooter (FPS) multiplayer community, "ninja defuse" is a term meaning sneaking-up to defuse the bomb immediately after it was planted by the enemy player in a team-based deathmatch game.[84]

In traditional games[edit]

Role-playing games[edit]

There are several ninja-themed role-playing games (RPGs):

Other games[edit]

The ninja are also featured in other traditional games, including:

In music[edit]


Several musicians and bands have the word "ninja" in their names and stage names, including:

Shadow Warriors, a joke side project formed by guitarist Sam Totman of British metal band DragonForce, utilizes ninja-related gimmickry in their music. A four-song EP, Power of the Ninja Sword, was released in 2001.[100]


A number of music albums feature the word "ninja" or "ninjas", including:

Bands 7 Seconds of Love, Concord Dawn (in the album Uprising), Europe (in the album The Final Countdown), ICP (in the album Tunnel of Love) and Jay Chou all have songs titled simply "Ninja". In addition, GO!GO!7188 and Afrirampo both have a song "Kunoichi" (in the albums Ryūzetsuran and A', respectively).

There are also many songs and tracks having the word "ninja" as part of their titles, including "Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin" by Reuben (in the album We Should Have Gone To University), “Hoodie Ninja” by mc chris (in the album mc chris is dead), "Imaginary Ninjas" by Vince Dicola (in the album Falling off a Clef), "Inner Ninja" by Classified (in the album Classified), "Ninja Goon" by Gruvis Malt (in the album Sound Soldiers), "Ninja Hi-skool" by Bis (in the album Play Some Real Songs: the Live Album), "We Are Ninja" by Frank Chickens (in the album We Are Frank Chickens), "Ninja Highschooool" by Peelander-Z (in the album P-Pop-High School), "Ninja Rap" by Vanilla Ice (in TMNT II Soundtrack), "Ninja Step" by RZA (in the soundtrack for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai), "Ninja Quiet" by Marco Beltrami (in the album World War Z: Music from the Motion Picture), "Supa Ninjaz" by Method Man (in the album The Pillage), and "This Secret Ninja" by AFI (in the album Very Proud of Ya).


  • Ninja Tune is a London-based independent record label.
  • Built by Ninjas is a music video production group formed by Jaret Reddick and Heath Balderston.[102][103]
  • Fans of the white rap group Insane Clown Posse, commonly identified as juggalos, sometimes refer to themselves as "ninja" and to any female as "ninjettes".[104]

Ninja are featured in the music video for the Presidents of the United States of America's song "Peaches". The singer Cheryl Cole dressed as female ninja and performed with a group of similarly-themed dancers in the TV special Cheryl Cole's Night In.[105] Members of Momoiro Clover Z dressed up as female ninja for a music video for the single D' no Junjō.

In sports[edit]



In tourism and other business[edit]

An entertainer in Edo Wonderland, Futami, Mie, 2009

Iga Ueno Ninja Festa, the annual ninja festival in the Japanese city of Iga in the former province of Iga, features ninja-inspired performances, competitions, and opportunities to practice ninja skills since 1964.[109] Iga is also location of the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum and many local businesses such as ninja-style restaurants and cafes.[2] In the United States, restaurants include Ninja New York in the New York City[110] and Flying Ninja sushi bar in San Francisco.[111] There are American roller coasters named Ninja (in California) and The Ninja (in Missouri).

Attendees of a one-day ninja camp at Koga Ninja Village, Kōka, Shiga, 2011[112]

There are also other ninja attractions across Japan,[2][113][114] such as the Koga Ninja Village[115] and Kogaryu Ninjutsu Yashiki (Ninja Houses)[116] in Koga-gun, Shiga Prefecture, Togakushi Ninja Village for Children[117] and Togakushi Ninpo Museum and Karakuri Yashiki (Ninja House)[118] in Togakushi, Nagano, Edo Wonderland[119] theme park in Nikkō, Tochigi, and theme restaurants Men no Sato[120] and Ninja Akasaka in Tokyo[121] and Ninja Kyoto in Kyoto.[122]

Other businesses include Ninja Jump, an American company designing and constructing licensed inflatables;[123] WEB NINJA, an Australian ecommerce website design team;[124] Ninja Message, an Australian direct-to-voicemail service;[125] Ninja Tracking Systems, a British GPS developer;[126] Ninja Polish, an online shop;[127] Ninja Pyrate, a fire show equipment workshop;[128] Crystal Ninja, a crystal design studio;[129] Lactose Ninja, a maker of lactose intolerance remedies;[130] and The Ninja Company, a European and Asian toy manufacturer;[131] There is also an American media company named Kunoichi.

On the Internet[edit]

Websites and web comics[edit]

There have been numerous popular websites dealing with the parody of the ninja, the most well-known including:


In information technology, "cyber ninja" are the sophisticated counter-hackers.[132] December 5 is International Creep Like a Ninja Day. Internet spoofs have often pitted ninja against pirates and asked which would win in a Pirates versus Ninja fight.



A Sony model on a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle at Importfest 2013, Canada

Several various products have been named after ninja, including:

Other products include CardNinja, a wallet phone case;[141] Majestouch NINJA Tenkeyless, a computer keyboard from Diatec Corp;[142] Modela Ninja Pibow, an enclosure for the Raspberry Pi computer;[143] Ninja Driver, an USB stick wrap;[144] Ninja Flex, a type of safety gloves;[145] NINJA Plus, a CPU cooler by the Japanese company Scythe;[146] Ninja Remote, a television contro, gadget and IR jammer;[147] and SwimmingNinja, a swimbait lure.[148]

In software, CartNinja is a browser application,[149] Ninja is also a name of modification of the web browser K-Meleon, Ninja Email Security was a former name for VIPRE Email Security for Exchange antivirus and antispam filter,[150][151] Ninja Lite is a video telephony program,[152] and Photo Ninja is a RAW converter program.[153]

Armed groups[edit]

Several paramilitary, police and militia groups around the world use the names or nicknames of "Ninja" or "Ninjas":


NINJA loan is a slang name for a type of subprime loan to someone with "No Income, No Job, or Assets". The so-called ninja miners are Mongolian miners that dig small unauthorised mines for gold. According to data compiled by, there was 7,000 percent growth in the number of job listings that include the term "ninja" over the period of 2006-2012.[163]

Sometimes, petty criminals are nicknamed as "ninja", such as in the case of the so-called "ninja murders". For example, an American burglar reported to have used a nunchaku on one of his victims was known by the media as the "Staten Island Ninja", while a former Russian soldier who engaged in robberies in Italy using a black attire and a bow was called "Russian ninja" by the media.[164] "Ninja rocks" is also a type of burglary tools.

In 2006, Miss Japan Kurara Chibana appeared in a ninja/samurai-style national costume during the Miss Universe competition.[165][166] Goth Ninja is a type of Japanese street fashion which became popular in 2009.[167]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glenn Morris (1993). Path Notes of an American Ninja Master. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-157-0. 
  2. ^ a b c Dressed to kill: Japan's ninja festival, The Guardian, 26 February 2011
  3. ^ Koga unôn ninjutsu kogaryû at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ "FROM THE ARCHIVES – Black Belt Magazine". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  5. ^ The State of the Ninja, Slate, June 26, 2007
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External links[edit]